Pakistan to seek Tehreek-e-Labaik party’s dissolution through Supreme Court — interior minister

Pakistan's Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmad gives press conference addressing anti-France violence, in Islamabad, on April 15, 2021. (AP)
Pakistan's Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmad gives press conference addressing anti-France violence, in Islamabad, on April 15, 2021. (AP)
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Updated 15 April 2021

Pakistan to seek Tehreek-e-Labaik party’s dissolution through Supreme Court — interior minister

Pakistan to seek Tehreek-e-Labaik party’s dissolution through Supreme Court — interior minister
  • Muhammad Younus Soomro, a TLP lawmaker in Sindh Assembly, said he would use his legal options to retain his seat in parliament
  • TLP Karachi chief warns he will disown his party chief and members of central consultative body if they did not call off the protests

ISLAMABAD/KARACHI: Pakistan's federal cabinet has approved the interior ministry's recommendation to outlaw the Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan (TLP), a religious party whose supporters have been holding nationwide protests since Monday, a senior government minister told a news conference on Thursday, adding that the government would take the case to the Supreme Court to ensure the dissolution of the religious party. 

Sheikh Rashid Ahmed announced on Wednesday that his ministry would send a proposal to the federal cabinet to impose a ban on TLP for killing two policemen, attacking law enforcement forces and disrupting public life through nationwide protests. 

The demonstrations erupted in major Pakistani cities and quickly turned violent after Saad Rizvi, the religious party’s head, was arrested on Monday after he threatened to launch a major campaign against the government if it did not expel France’s envoy to Islamabad over blasphemous caricatures of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) printed in a French publication. 

"We have proscribed [the TLP] and the notification for that will be issued shortly," said federal interior minister Shaikh Rashid Ahmed. "Tomorrow, we will send another summary to the cabinet to file a reference in the Supreme Court since we are moving toward [TLP's] dissolution." 

Muhammad Younus Soomro, a TLP lawmaker in the Sindh Assembly, said he would use his legal options to retain his seat in parliament. 

“We'll see our options once the notification [regarding the ban] is issued,” Soomro said while distancing himself from the TLP protests. 

On Thursday, the TLP chief in Pakistan’s southern city of Karachi, Allama Razi Hussaini, also warned that he would disown his party chief and members of the central consultative body if they did not call off the protests.

“If the party’s central Shura and Saad Hussain Rizvi Sahib continue to show stubbornness and insist that they do not want to resolve this issue through talks, the nation will be disappointed and we will have no association with the TLP leadership,” he announced in a video message.

The TLP gained prominence in Pakistan’s 2018 federal elections, campaigning to defend the country’s blasphemy law, which calls for death penalty for anyone who insults Islam. The party also has a history of staging protests and sit-ins to pressure the government to accept its demands. 

In November 2017, Rizvi’s followers staged a 21-day protest and sit-in after a reference to the sanctity of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was removed from the text of a government form. 

In the 2018 elections, the party managed to win two seats in the Sindh Assembly from Karachi and got a female member elected on a reserved seat of the assembly. 

Commenting on the government’s move to ban TLP, legal experts said the government was required to refer the matter to the Supreme Court within fifteen days of making a declaration to ban a political party while presenting its reasons for doing so.

“The Supreme Court may decide on the government’s reference in a week or ten days and its decision will be final,” Justice (retired) Shaiq Usmani told Arab News. 

He said the law regarding the dissolution of a political party was “very clear” and if the apex court upheld the government’s declaration against the TLP, “the party shall stand dissolved forthwith.” 

Legal experts said the three elected TLP members in the Sindh Assembly could retain their seats by resigning their party membership and publicly announcing their dissociation with the TLP before a final Supreme Court decision. 

“If the TLP lawmakers dissociate themselves from the party before the apex court’s verdict, they will be able to complete their constitutional term as independent members in the house,” Ashtar Ausaf Ali, a former attorney-general of Pakistan, told Arab News. 

He said if a member of the parliament or provincial assemblies was disqualified in case of the dissolution of a party, they could not run for electoral office or a legislative body for four years from the date of their disqualification from being a lawmaker. 

“There is no ambiguity in law,” Ali said, “and it’s up to the party lawmakers now as to what they choose in case of the dissolution of their party.”


Pakistan, Turkey to produce TV series on famed Muslim commander Salahuddin

Pakistan, Turkey to produce TV series on famed Muslim commander Salahuddin
Updated 21 August 2021

Pakistan, Turkey to produce TV series on famed Muslim commander Salahuddin

Pakistan, Turkey to produce TV series on famed Muslim commander Salahuddin
  • Salahuddin retook Jerusalem from the Crusaders after the battle of Hattin in 1187
  • TV series will be produced by Pakistan's Ansari & Shah Films and Turkey's Akli Films

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani and Turkish producers have signed an agreement to make a TV series on the life of the famed 12th-century Muslim commander Salahuddin Al-Ayyubi, the Turkish side announced on Saturday.

The first sultan of Egypt and Syria and founder of the Ayyubid dynasty, Salahuddin (1138-1193) led the Muslim military campaign against the Crusader states in the Levant. After the battle of Hattin in 1187, he retook Jerusalem from the Crusaders who had conquered Palestine 88 years earlier.

The TV series will be produced by Pakistan's Ansari & Shah Films and Turkey's Akli Films.

"Contract signed between Akli Films and Ansari&Shah Films," Akli Films owner Emre Konuk said in a tweet. "May this international project, which will be prepared with the cooperation of Turkey and Pakistan, be beneficial to our country and our art world."

 

 

Akli Films said in a statement the three-season series will feature actors from Turkey and Pakistan, and will be shot in Turkey.


Tanzeela Qambrani becomes first from tiny African-Pakistani community to become cabinet member

Tanzeela Qambrani becomes first from tiny African-Pakistani community to become cabinet member
Updated 05 August 2021

Tanzeela Qambrani becomes first from tiny African-Pakistani community to become cabinet member

Tanzeela Qambrani becomes first from tiny African-Pakistani community to become cabinet member
  • Tanzeela Qambrani belongs to Sheedi community and joined Sindh Assembly on women's reserved seat in 2018
  • She specializes in computer sciences and will head the ministry of information technology

KARACHI: Pakistan’s southern Sindh province on Thursday appointed Tanzeela Qambrani, a female lawmaker of African descent, to its cabinet, making her the first member of the country s tiny African-Pakistani community to hold a government portfolio.

A resident of Matli in Badin district, Qambrani belongs to the Sheedi community and joined Sindh’s ruling Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) after securing a master’s degree in computer sciences from a local university in 2010.

She was elected as a provincial legislator in Sindh on women's reserved seat in August 2018.

Qambrani on Thursday was notified as special assistant to the province’s chief minister, a post equal in status to a provincial minister. She will head the important information technology department.

“[Pakistan’s founding father] Muhammad Ali Jinnah said all citizens of this country are equal. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto gave the country a constitution, which provides everyone equal rights. My [PPP] chairman [Bilawal Bhutto Zardari] practically showed it [by appointing me to the provincial cabinet],” Qambrani told Arab News, adding that she wanted to empower Pakistani women and youth with the opportunities created by information technology.

“Information technology is my subject which is used in almost every field,” she said. “I want to use it to ensure the progress of our women and youth, including those belonging to my own community.”

While there are various accounts of the arrival of the Sheedi community in the region, it is widely believed that its members have their roots in Africa and their forefathers accompanied famous Arab military commander Muhammad bin Qasim to South Asia.

Estimates suggest that the total size of the community is about 250,000 people.


Pakistan decides to keep schools open as COVID-19 cases touch new high since April

Pakistan decides to keep schools open as COVID-19 cases touch new high since April
Updated 05 August 2021

Pakistan decides to keep schools open as COVID-19 cases touch new high since April

Pakistan decides to keep schools open as COVID-19 cases touch new high since April
  • Pakistan reported 5,661 new coronavirus cases in last 24 hours, highest single-day rise in infections since April
  • Government says its data analysis shows vaccination helpful in declining the positivity ratio of COVID-19 cases

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan reported 5,661 new coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, a government portal showed on Thursday, the highest number of daily infections recorded since April, and a day after the federal government said it would open schools across the country, except in the southern Sindh province. 

According to the National Command and Operation Center (NCOC), the government’s central body dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, of 62,462 tests conducted until Thursday, 5,661 people had tested positive for COVID-19, while the positivity rate rose to 9.06 percent.

 

 

The alarming rise in cases comes as an Inter-Provincial Education Ministers Conference (IPEMC) on Wednesday said schools would remain open in all the provinces except Sindh, Pakistan’s second populous province, whose administration said it would review the coronavirus situation on August 8 and decide on reopening schools and holding exams.

On Thursday, Pakistan also set another record: of administering the highest number of vaccinations in a day - 1.1 million - since the shots began to be rolled out in February.

 

 

The government of Pakistan also urged people on Thursday to get vaccinated, saying an analysis of cases by the NCOC across Pakistan “clearly shows that vaccination is helpful in declining the positivity ratio of Covid-19 cases.”

 

 


Pakistan hopes to overcome COVID-19 vaccine shortages as more doses trickle in

Pakistan hopes to overcome COVID-19 vaccine shortages as more doses trickle in
Updated 21 June 2021

Pakistan hopes to overcome COVID-19 vaccine shortages as more doses trickle in

Pakistan hopes to overcome COVID-19 vaccine shortages as more doses trickle in
  • Nation of 220 million expected to receive over 6 million jabs next week to continue nationwide vaccination drive, health officials say
  • Vaccine shortage in Islamabad temporary, hopeful to overcome it in next 2-3 days, district health officer Islamabad says

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s government struck an optimistic tone on Sunday, hoping to overcome a COVID-19 vaccine shortage in various parts of the country, including in the capital city, Islamabad, with the arrival of over 6 million doses of the crucial jabs.

Health Chief Dr. Faisal Sultan said that while Pakistan had one million doses of COVID-19 vaccines in stock, authorities were expecting 1.55 million doses on Sunday, 2.5 million doses on Tuesday, and another 2-3 million doses between June 23 and June 30.

“Therefore, any pressure in the system and local/distribution issues will be eased by Mon/Tue,” Dr. Sultan said in a Twitter post on Saturday.

The National Command and Operation Center (NCOC), the federal body dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, confirmed the arrival of 1.55 million doses of China’s Sinovac vaccines on Sunday.

“This is part of planned contracted quantity purchased from China,” the NCOC said in a statement.

“China as a time-tested friend of Pakistan, has taken special measures to ensure uninterrupted supply of vaccines to Pakistan. Another consignment of 2-3 million doses of Chinese vaccines will be reaching Pakistan next week,” it added.

Pakistan has been grappling with a vaccine shortage since Monday, especially in Islamabad and the southern Sindh province, where authorities have shut down nearly 40 percent of vaccination centers due to a scarcity of the COVID-19 jabs.

“This vaccine shortage is temporary and we are hopeful to overcome it in the next two to three days,” Dr. Zaeem Zia, a district health officer in Islamabad, told Arab News on Sunday

He added that the federal government would provide more vaccines by Monday to “ease the pressure on vaccination centers, especially in rural areas of Islamabad.”

Islamabad’s administration has vaccinated 52.7 percent or 580,000 of its population since February when the nationwide vaccination drive was launched, with plans to inoculate at least 1.1 million by the year-end.

“We have been successful in flattening the virus curve in Islamabad through restrictions and vaccination,” Zia said.

“We will have sufficient vaccine supplies in the next couple of days to achieve our target,” he added.

Since February, the South Asian nation of 220 million has procured around 14.5 million jabs from various sources, including COVAX, a global vaccine-sharing facility for developing countries led by the World Health Organization.

Pakistan has allocated $1.1 billion in the fiscal year 2022 to procure coronavirus vaccines from the international market to achieve herd immunity.

The government says it’s aiming to vaccinate between 45 million and 65 million people this year, with plans to inoculate 70 million people by next year.

So far, Pakistan has administered more than 13 million doses of the vaccine.     


Babar Azam becomes PSL's all-time top scorer during tournament's Abu Dhabi leg

Babar Azam becomes PSL's all-time top scorer during tournament's Abu Dhabi leg
Updated 19 June 2021

Babar Azam becomes PSL's all-time top scorer during tournament's Abu Dhabi leg

Babar Azam becomes PSL's all-time top scorer during tournament's Abu Dhabi leg
  • As the PSL's top scorer with 2,000 runs, Azam is followed by Peshawar Zalmi's Kamran Akmal with 1,763 runs
  • Azam on Saturday also became the first player to score 500 runs in a single edition of PSL

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan captain Babar Azam became the first player to cross the 2,000-run mark in the Pakistan Super League (PSL) during a Karachi Kings vs Quetta Gladiators faceoff in Abu Dhabi on Saturday.
During the same match, Azam also became the first player to score 500 runs in a single edition of PSL, as he scored 23 off 25 against Quetta Gladiators, taking his PSL6 tally to 501.
"#King #BabarAzam the 1st batsman in the history of #HBLPSL to score 2000 runs," Karachi Kings celebrated its batsman in a tweet.

 

 

The sixth edition of Pakistan’s flagship cricket super league tournament resumed at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on June 9. It was postponed in March after a string of positive coronavirus cases among players and officials.
As the PSL's top scorer, Azam is followed by Peshawar Zalmi's Kamran Akmal who has scored 1,763 runs.
Born in Lahore, the 26-year-old right-hand, top-order batsman was 12 when he already played serious tape-ball cricket. At age 15, he was declared Pakistan's best Under-15 batsman and made his List A debut.  
By 16, he was a first-class cricketer for Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited (ZTBL) cricket team. By the time he received his first ODI cap, he already had six centuries and more than 2,000 List A runs at an average of 47.88 to his name.
In September 2018, Azam passed 2,000 runs in ODI cricket, reaching the milestone in just 45 innings. Only one player has ever gotten there quicker and that is South African great Hashim Amla. Amla took just 40 innings.
In the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup, Azam made history, scoring 474 runs at 67.61 to break Javed Miandad’s 1992 record for the most runs by a Pakistan batsman in a Cricket World Cup campaign.
In April, he ended Virat Kohli’s long reign at the top of the MRF Tyres ICC Men’s ODI Player Rankings, becoming only the fourth batsman from his country to attain number one position in the rankings.